#NewBusiness Chit-Chat: If you started a Business tomorrow, what would it be?

by Chris C. Ducker · 53 comments

start-openIn the last year I have started two virtual businesses. I’ve been heavily involved with both of them for a certain period of time, and then, once things seem to level out, and starting running on their own (and after I’ve hired people to run the businesses for me!), I step away, manage from a distance, and move on to the next project / start-up.

I love doing this…!

The First

The first was Virtual Staff Finder. This is a service that I started up purely to fill a gap that I saw in the outsourcing market, where my team of qualified sourcing experts match busy entrepreneurs with experienced, home-based virtual assistants here in the Philippines.

When I start it, I said I’d be happy with servicing 10 clients a month. We are currently serving an average of four times that amount, and it continues to become more and more popular!

The Second

This one has been in beta mode for around 4 months now. I am literally 4-6 weeks away from a full-blown launch of this new company, that I feel will revolutionize the way people outsource project-based work. I mean, its gonna be in a class of its own.

We’ve been testing our products and services with existing clients and a few newbies, and so far everyone has nothing but awesome things to say about the quality of the work, the speed at which its completed and the service in general.

More info on this soon, peeps.

What IS a Virtual Business?

This might differ from one person to another. However, my definition of a virtual business is that of a business entity that does not require YOU, as the owner of the business, to be present on a regular basis at any one location, in order for the business to function properly and ultimately make you money.

It doesn’t need to be ‘online’ (ie. an e-commerce store). It can even require office facilities. However, if as the head-honcho you have the freedom to come and go as you please, work from anywhere you want and fundamentally run the business at an arms length – THAT’S a virtual business.

Coming Soon: Virtual Business for Virgins!

I’m around a month or so away from finishing my first ‘real’ online product. I had actually wanted to get this out months ago, but, as you can tell from the first few paragraphs of this post – I’ve been busy building my virtual business empire!

This is going to be an eBook, Audio and Video content based product, and will talk you through how I’ve set-up my virtual businesses, and the steps you need to complete to be able to do it easily, and quickly (under 30 days, actually!) for yourself.

To help me finish things off and come up with a couple of hypothetical case studies to include, I’d like to ask you this question today, and engage in another one of our, always-popular, VBL Discussions.

If you were to start-up, or even just start PLANNING the start-up of a virtual business tomorrow, what would it be?

Over to you…

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Wasim Ismail September 16, 2011 at 19:20

Some sort of an online directory, but not the standard traditional ones, something with a twist, which would excite every business to be on it. – Coming soon :)


KC Truby September 17, 2011 at 02:29

Well if every business is on it, it won’t be unique and the ‘women’ thing has been so overworked it is a cliche now. How about people that went to a certain college, or have a specific disability, or people who got rich after dropping out of high school. Oh I like that one, because I could be on it. LOL I’ll bet if you crowd sourced a request that went like this “List 100 unique factors about people like school, hair color, education etc.” you would come up with 1,000 good ideas in a week – then just start boiling it down as you test each idea until you get some traction from the market.

Good Luck. Another idea is to build list and sell them. When I was in my 20’s I created a list of new home owners and it generated several hundred thousand a year of profit back in the early 70’s before I sold it to a competitor. How about an email list of lawyers, or people who buy advertising, or what ever. I have been called several times in the past few weeks by someone asking if I had diabetes (luckily no) but they were building an email list to either sell their products or to sell to pharmaceutical companies.


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:43

Nice, KC.

I agree on the cliche things.

List building is massive. Whether in the ‘real’ business world, or the ‘virtual’ one. Seriously, KC’s experience in the 70’s almost mirrors a list deal I was in on in the mid-90’s. People will always, let me repeat that – ALWAYS – pay for solid, up-to-date information!!!



Nick Sakers September 16, 2011 at 22:43

I plan to create a website for my music, where my music IS the website and you experience it audibly as you navigate it visually… A sort of cross between the typical website, music player and video game… It would be designed as sort of an endless maze of audio/visual entertainment, with each branch being added to over time, causing the number of possible avenues you could explore to grow exponentially over time to the point that no one really knows just how big the site is or “how deep the rabbit hole goes”, so to speak… I think it would be unique enough to draw a lot of word of mouth referrals (meaning good music PR & hopefully sales as a result of the exposure).


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:54

Hi Nick

Thanks for the comment.

Great ideas, and definitely unique. How would you make your money, though? Monthly subscription, or product sales? If so, what would you sell…?

I like it… Give it a little more thought, my man. :-)



Sam September 16, 2011 at 23:24

Hey Chris,

Id love more info on those products, sounds like some good stuff. In terms of a virtual business, just started the mortgage one a few weeks ago and starting to build out. It obviously is on mortgages and real estate, but will also border personal finance as well. I have a few products being developed right now so some good stuff. I want a more information based business, Eban Pagen ideas (have a couple of his products, great stuff) as well as a few based on some ideas Tony Robbins talks about.

I’d say that’s the main thing for me and the path I plan to take the site in the short term. Keep up the great work Chris.



Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:53

Hi Sam

You cant go wrong with info products. They very rarely ‘die’. Once they are done and finished, you simply have to market them – and perhaps update them from time to time…

Eban is the kind of guy to follow, for sure, if youre into that stuff.

Thanks for the kind words, bud.



Brandon Freund September 16, 2011 at 23:27

Well, right now I’m building up a web design company, but if I had to start a new one tomorrow, I always thought a virtual DJ for parties would be cool. Something a bit fancier than your iTunes playlist :)


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:51

Hi Brandon

Virtual DJ’s………. thats interesting. Like the idea… You could team up with hard working DJ’s from around the world, and create a big directory for people to check out with sample set lists, etc.

Man – I’d look into this, if I was you…



steve September 19, 2011 at 21:44

theres an absoulete real NEED for this. I have a huge collection of music in my itunes library and im for ever forgetting whats in there :-) Itunes does some nic e things with the mix but a real DJ for a party would be ace :-)

go build it and i bet they will come :-)


Chris C. Ducker September 20, 2011 at 12:45

I agree with Steve.

You should seriously look into the logistics of this, Brandon. There’s a hole in the market here, bud.



Christina McCale September 17, 2011 at 02:11

Hi Chris –

6-7 months ago, my fellow teacher/researcher and business partner, Dr. Richard Moody and I, started researching…. well, all of YOU. We were fascinated by this “internet business” world that was hardly being represented in the hallowed halls of academia, and wondered what we were missing in our own teachings – and how to close the gap between classroom and real world.

We sat on a lot of conference calls, a lot of trainings, bought a lot of products, listened to a lot of people. We then started whittling down who the “real” experts were, from the wanna bee’s.

We started also wondering how in the world “newbies” survive and succeed in this mad, chaotic Turkish-bazzaar environment. Learning: 95% don’t.

We also got “bit” by the bug.

We came up with an idea – an amalgomation of a lot of ideas from both online and offline business, captalizing on both our corporate business backgrounds (at small, little companies like AT&T, US West, Qwest, American Red Cross and Apple), and our doctoral/professorial training as researchers, we started our virtual business, with this guy you might have heard about: Willie Crawford.

To this day, I have no idea what compelled him to take a chance on two unknown geeks who weren’t internet experts. But I am forever grateful for his kind heart, his mentoring spirit, and his unwavering faith in us and this project.

On Monday, Sept 19, thanks to Willie and his amazing virtual network of connections, we’re launching a series of 12 books, the FIRST of which is Start Your Internet Business: 36 Things You Need to Know Now. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh9gHrzU02Q).

Our amazing crew of guest expert authors include: Dennis Becker, Willie Crawford, Reed Floren, Connie Ragen Green, Jane Mark, Marlon Sanders, Rachel Rofe, Susanne Myer, Tahir Shah, Dr. Mani Sivasubramanian, and Nicole Dean.

It’s been a quintessential experience of virtual organization building: guest authors, web people, artists, you name it. So who knows – maybe we can offer a more detailed description of a case study for you??!! ;-)


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:50

Hi Chris

Well done to you!

Super stoked that you’re in the process of launching your first big thing. Thats great and very happy to include that link for people to check it out. Looks like you have all come together nicely, and I wish you all the best.

Keep us all at VBL up to date with your progress / success, okay!!!



Michelle Dale September 17, 2011 at 02:18

What a good question Chris. I started my Virtual Assistant company back in 2007 (online service providing basically) and I have never looked back, no regrets, and I have managed to successfully detach myself from daily operations, it’s a heavily overlooked VBLers dream ;)


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:47

Hi Michelle

Its tougher to detach in some industries, other than in others, obviously. But, I believe its YOUR opinions and ideas that matter the most.

I mean, as a business owner, if youre happy working 12-16 hours a day and feel okay with it, then I guess its fine.

Personally – I’d rather be sitting by a pool with a long-island ice tea!!!!!!! :-)

Congrats on YOUR separation from the grind, thats awesome!



KC Truby September 17, 2011 at 02:22

We are actually thinking of starting a seminar company to teach crowd sourcing. I have 65 people working for me in 5 home based companies that do everything from email and phone to web site and cold calls on the phone. I don’t know of anyone who has had so much success at this virtual business as we have. We just hired 31 ‘at home’ writers in the past 10 days to create content for our web sites – so as soon as we write the first checks we’ll be up to 96 people.

I think a lot of people would like to know how to start a business with no money, customers or staff and make it work in short order.

If the live seminar worked, we could then convert it to on-line. But I think you need to be in front of your customers to figure out what works and what is a waste of effort. I registered the URL The Pajama Kingdom this week so we’ll see what happens in our first test mailers.


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:44

Looks like you’re well on your way, KC.

Crowd sourcing is not new, but so, so many people haven’t jumped onto it properly yet – I like your idea. I think you could do well with it with a little focus.

Pajama Kingdom – absolutely LOVE that!!!

Incidentally, its been a while since I’ve seen you here at the blog… Thanks for dropping by! :-)



Jason September 17, 2011 at 03:14

I am very interested in starting a virtual business. I however would rather not create niche sites. I encounter those all the time in my normal internet usage and they annoy me. They also annoy many other people I know. So I just don’t want to be a purveyor of these sort of sites.

But I DO want to create a profitable virtual business. What are my choices? Could I simply create 3 or 4 actual sites about subjects im interested in? Travel, photography, etc. I know a lot of people also sell eBooks which I have considered. But I like the idea of somehow leveraging virtual assistants to write content and build the business. I like the idea of making money from ads, but it seems that this is a the bottom of people’s lists these days in regards to profit.

So in short, YES! I am very interested in creating a virtual/online business (or businesses!)

I am very open to ideas and suggestions! :-)

And thanks for putting together this great website and community!


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:41

Hi Jason

Niche sites are not for everyone. Hell, I dont even know if they are for ME, yet! My niche site project is exactly that – a project, to see if I want to work on them more in the future.

C’mon everyone… Help Jason out – any ideas for a man gagging to get going on his virtual entrepreneurship journey, who enjoyes, photography and travel……???!!

Good luck, bud and thanks for the comment.



steve September 19, 2011 at 21:51


a Niche site doenot have to be an adsense or amazon site ! it can provide real information to people.

You could create a niche site about “Travel Photography in Yellowstone national park” for example! combine many elemnts of your interest together and create a 20 page site, its still a niche site. you could choose to monetise it with amazon books or link to an authority photogrpaher on yellowstone that do tours or and one of the big camera shops.

We should not limit the concept of a niche site to being one thats thin on content and high on ads. It can be a lot more than that,

Hope that helps and would love to look at some of your travel photography sites when they are up and running :-)



Chris C. Ducker September 20, 2011 at 12:46

Yep – 100% on the money here.

A niche site does not have to revolve around adsense earnings. Affiliate sales, products sales, commissions (as Steve mentions), etc.

Keep an open mind on this people… Niche is just a term thats used – its not the be-all and and-all of everything and is certainly not super glued to adsense! :-)



Lisa M September 17, 2011 at 03:25

If I were to start tomorrow I would do webinar/seminar/training classes on Tai Chi & Qi Gong breathing and meditation. I could do the classes from any location (beachfronts, parks, mountains). When people were ready to watch or go through a lesson they could watch live or I’m not live, view an automated webinar on thier computer or mobile device. Like a subscription service. Everyone needs to take time out and do something positive for themselves. Instead of hiking through traffic to go to the gym, hang out in the office parking lot and destress, then try to make it through traffic.


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:38

Hi Lisa

Webinars, etc., are great – as you do them once, record them and then sell them forever.

Highly appreciate your comments on relaxing and de-stressing – I’m just back from a 2-day getaway myself and feel SUPER energized!!! :-)

Thanks for dropping by and the great ideas – let us know how it all goes for you, when you get going.



Max Friar September 17, 2011 at 04:21

Cold call telemarketing! I’ve been doing this successfully for 8 years, 6 in mergers & acquisitions. There is going to be a swath of M&A activity in small business in the US over the next 10 years and business brokers dread cold calling. I have already been writing an e-book outlining not just calling scripts, but demonstrating how cold callers should react based on how receptionists handle the call. People fear the gatekeeper, but she’s usually not that tough to get around! I have not done the necessary research, but I believe that my scripts/advice could be marketed to a much wider audience. If I can find the time, this will be be 2nd niche site/product, right behind http://www.fulbrightapplication.com, which is successfully making sales for me every week!


KC Truby September 17, 2011 at 08:04

This can be a real money maker. We have been crowd sourcing our phone calls from craigs list and we find a plethora of people who will work on results based pay and they perform well. We give them very low resistance scripts and pay a small amount for each ‘positive’

Some money can be made in selling scripts, but giant money can be made in managing the calling effort yourself.


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:29

Hi KC & Max

Loving he interaction of this… Good stuff guys.

As someone who has been involve in telemarketing his entire career and has over 200 outbound callers himself, trust me – it WORKS!!!

Keep up the discussion. Loving it.



Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:37

Congrats on the sales, Max.

Gatekeepers are our friends, thats the way I see it. :-)



Adam Stanecki September 17, 2011 at 05:51


I can’t wait for your launch on VB#2. I know it’s going to be cool. (Sorry guys, I can’t tell.)

FYI – your VSF service is awesome. I found my new VA. Thank you to you and Steph. (Anyone else reading should use VSF to find their next VA.) **hint hint**

I intend to launch something for the Simplify My Small Business podcast audience that I am building. It will be some kind of coaching program for small business owners. Perhaps a membership site (done properly).

Cheers, Adam.


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:34

Hi Adam

Totally appreciate the thanks and props on the VSF Experience, too. Thanks, man.

I think the idea of launching products for podcasts is awesome. Its not been done too much, and the great thing is that a solid list of listeners doesnt have to be huge to make great money – as they are REAL people, REAL subscribers!

Let me know how it goes, bud.



steve September 19, 2011 at 21:54

LOL adam, well i guess youve bee beta testing then :-(

Love the tease and its about time you launched Chris :-) enough testing launch :-)



Chris C. Ducker September 20, 2011 at 12:46

Hahaha… All good things come to those who wait, my man!


Thanks for the support, as always.



Lucy September 17, 2011 at 06:10

I have been making a list of projects i want to work on since I was a teenager. It isnt until recently that I saw that there was nothing keeping me from doing it but myself.

If i had the resources for my own stuff I would start with niche sites (authority sites)…just cuz it’s the thing I’ve had in my mind and it’s relatively easy. I think that succesful “niche sites” dont look like niche sites aka crappy. I’ve also wanted to create products for small businesses to get government contracts, since I work in the field I can see all the issues and I have solution for a lot of them! lol… its a long long long list.

Main thing I’ve learned is to do one thing at a time that way I can get through all of it.

I’m very excited for your virgins project, the description itself says it’s probably going to be helpful to me…either way, yay for you!


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:32

Hi Lucy

Procrastination is a b**ch to deal with. It happens to the best of us, trust me!

Thanks in advance for the props on the VB4V project. I’m really enjoying putting it together and hope to have it out by this time next month, if possible. If not, it will be end of October.

Thanks for the comment.



Kenny Dowling September 17, 2011 at 07:27

I have two under way. One of your teams is building a virtual business web site to replace my informational web site http://www.mapsport.net.au and my regional mtn biking bog http://digbig.com/5bbbyg The new site will continue those activities and now include sales of related products and services. Profits will go to development of mtn bike trails and mtn bike orienteering in the region. First up will be sales of recreational maps suited to mtn bikers, hikers, runners and trail bikes. These maps are unique in having every trail. There will be 2 in the series this summer with a further one added each year.

These maps will be in waterproof paper. Would love to offer digital versions but haven’t yet solved the issue of protection of copyright. There are systems for visible and invisible watermarking but we are not convinced these will sufficiently deter distribution of the digital map. Off the back of the maps sales am looking at sales of related items such as compass, gps, SPOT tracker. Need to make a decision on whether to handle these via affiliate or more directly.

A key to the success of this site is to capture relevant searches.

The second site is business and is not regional. I am buliding up a cross-media marketing campaign service. A specific niche market is digital print companies on-selling my service to their clients. The print company gets high value print work. While I use the cross-media campaign tools as my main marketing method, I also need a web site that is aimed at that niche market (my normal web site is aimed at business end users of my service). This niche web site will be informational and have a strong emphasis on getting qualified printers to sign up for demos and/or newsletters.

While my campaigns will be sending respondents to this web site from their personalised micro site, I also need it to be found by printers becoming more aware through industry media of cross-media opportunities.

In time I would like to see functionality on the site to capture and process much of the preparation work required as a printer gets a client inetrested in the service.


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:30

Hi Kenny

Thanks for the great comment and ideas. This is exactly what these VBL Discussion posts are all about…!

Looks like you have some great ideas in the works – all the best of luck with them, and keep us up to date! :-)



Felix Albutra September 17, 2011 at 10:45

I want to build a Virtual Assisting Business. I mean I want to have a small company like yours – Live2Care.com

On the other hand, I want to have a wike style blog related to Blogging and Internet Marketing. I think I have the best domain name for this virtual business which is the Blogging Access dot com.

This would be an all-in-one access to learn what is Internet Marketing – Blogging.

– Felix


Chris C. Ducker September 19, 2011 at 19:28

Hi Felix

I’d stay away from the VA side of things… Its very competitive, and a lot of VAs that I know that have gone from being a VA, to trying to set-up a VA Business, here in the Philippines have lost precious money and time.

My advice – go with the internet marketing and blogging idea. I’ve seen your blog. Its solid stuff. Put something of a ‘Beginners Guide’ together. But, focus it towards the Philippine market – there is a big lack of that type of thing here… It will do well. I think.

Just my humble opinion……… :-)



John Colley September 20, 2011 at 19:08

Hey Chris

If I started a VBL I would love it to be focused around my interest in photography – particularly old cars.

Being practical I am working on providing paid information products from my Blog at the Six Minute Strategist but at the moment I am just providing helpful information and content and starting to build my list

Thanks for all the help. Hope to see you in the UK when you are next over

best regards



Chris C. Ducker September 21, 2011 at 17:50

Hi John

Thats the way to do it – around your passion.

If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then just forget it – no point, as you wont stand the test of time, as they say.

UK visit will be a while, but when I am back, absolutely – I’d love to have a beer!

Cheers, and nice to see you commenting on VBL again, its been a while, mate.



steve September 21, 2011 at 02:30

Hi Chris

I wasn’t sure what to write here.

I’m doing it not dreaming about it as such. Although it fills my waking and dreaming hours :-)

CloudVenturesGroup. It’s going to be a few different things such as offering some services but the core is

“Our business model is to develop a portfolio of MicroBrand Niche web sites. They will be built on the Wordpress platform and monetised via Adsense, Amazon, Click bank and EBook’s produced by us.

We specialise in the Verticals of Fitness, Health and Wellbeing.

Additional sites that may offer exceptional revenue generating opportunities will be created but these are built for later sale.”

Hard to believe but i wrote that! a Microbrand is a concept of building highly branded sites but in micro niches within a larger niche. Authority sites if you like but in a narrow field.

In essence I see this as a virtual real estate business.

The exit is via a wholesale or sell off of whole niches areas.


Chris C. Ducker September 21, 2011 at 17:47

Hi Steve

Thanks for the comment.

I love your ‘microbrand’ set-up. And those are some KILLER niches to focus on, too. And the fact that you’re already thinking of an exit strategy is a great move. People sometimes get so caught up in what they are ‘building’, that they dont look for the shots when they are open!

Keep going with it, mate – you’re on your way…



Mike Stankavich September 21, 2011 at 16:53

Let’s see, excepting my current iPhone development business, which isn’t totally virtual yet? I would lean on my database administration and performance tuning expertise to offer remote database performance and security audits with a service offering to remediate any issues that I found. I expect that I’d do the work myself for while, then train in staff over time. There are a number of remote DBA services out there, so I’d have to find a way to differentiate. Doing the audit at low cost or playing up my info security credentials might work. It will need some testing to see what will stick. I do plan to do this at some point but will probably be early next year before I can do it justice.


Chris C. Ducker September 21, 2011 at 17:45

Hi Mike

Seems like you have some solid ideas – I would focus on that iPhone biz of your first though. So many cool pieces already in place, by the sound of things!

Keep rockin’, my man.



Mike Stankavich September 21, 2011 at 17:53

Thanks Chris. You’re absolutely right that I need to stay focused and not start anything else just yet. Plenty of time for that later. Next time I’m in town I’ll plan ahead a bit more, maybe you can check out our new digs :)

I’m really looking forward to seeing your next launch & watching it fly :)


Chris C. Ducker September 21, 2011 at 20:58

Hi Mike

Would love to check things out with you – but, yes – let me know with a little more notice. :-)

Thanks for the launch well wishes, too. My plan is to launch the biz AND the VBL product before BlogWorld, but I’m not gonna stress out if I cant make it. More important things to ‘not’ worry about!!!

Cheers, as always, for the support.



Gary September 21, 2011 at 22:22

Chris, through you can I ask Steve more about his “microbrand” as I think this is what I want to do.
I think I know what it is. Gary


Chris C. Ducker September 21, 2011 at 22:45

Go ahead and ask, my man!

Thats what this place is for!!!




steve wyman September 21, 2011 at 23:48

A MicroBrand is a small-scale brand recognized only by consumers in a specific niche market.

It’s about creating unique Brand Identities for each site; rather than global brand marketing used by companies such as Virgin, where a central Logo and name is used to reinforce all parts of the business.

So for example Pedometers Store will become a MicroBrand if the initial site is successful i.e. makes enough money that can be reinvested in promotions and design work aka Branding

This is ofcourse my defintion of the idea


Chris C. Ducker September 22, 2011 at 18:06

A solid definition, too.

I guess you could say I’ve also done this a little with the way I have broken things down and produced this blog, my business site, our culture site, VSF, the podcast and more recently acquired OTTP – all relevant and all related together.

Nice stuff, Steve.



stevewyman September 22, 2011 at 21:25

Hi Chris, Yes after i pushed submitt i thought your business’s were a good example.

VirtualStaffFinder for example. Its a brand in a small niche market. Perfectly taylored to that set of needs.

as your next venture will also be i suspect.


Chris C. Ducker September 23, 2011 at 18:04

You suspect correctly, my man…



Bojan September 26, 2011 at 17:35

I am looking forward to your new product! I already started a virtual business, it resolves around my passion to merge technology and everyday life for the better.


Chris C. Ducker September 26, 2011 at 18:42


I’m sure that, even though you’re up and running already, it’ll still help you out in a number of places :-)

Appreciate your interested, buddy.



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